PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays made their next wave of cuts Sunday, with former top pick SS Tim Beckham and C Stephen Vogt among the group sent to minor-league camp.
RHPs Matt Bush and Dane De La Rosa and OF Brandon Guyer were also optioned to the minors.
Manager Joe Maddon was impressed with Beckham, the 2008 top pick, saying he's playing "major-league caliber" defense, has "major-league makeup" and just has to work on his game plan at the plate. Beckham, likely to start at Triple-A Durham, will play some second base as well, which Maddon said could help get him to the big leagues sooner.
"I feel close hitting, I feel close at short, I feel close everywhere," said Beckham, 22.
Vogt hit .323 this spring and had emerged as a dark horse for the second catcher spot, with Maddon especially liking his left-handed bat. Though disappointed, he knew he needed more time behind the plate.
"I've been telling myself since I was little, all I need is somebody to give me a chance," Vogt said. "If that's this year, next year or three years from now, hopefully it'll be that case."
Bush, 26, the 2004 top pick as a shortstop, gave up three hits in 42/3 innings and could impact the bullpen this season.
OFF THE MARK: LHP Matt Moore wasn't nearly as sharp as in his dazzling spring debut, struggling with command in his start against the Red Sox.
Moore was charged with four runs on three hits, including two homers, in 21/3 innings (52 pitches). Moore felt good physically, but he fell behind too many hitters and was unable to locate his fastball and changeup as he wanted. Maddon liked Moore's curveball and said some struggles aren't a surprise at this point in spring.
"You don't go through any season or any kind of league perfect," Moore said. "Was I expecting this? Absolutely not. But it's something I need to pay attention to."
PRICE CHECK: LHP David Price felt good in his start in a minor-league intrasquad game Sunday morning, allowing three runs on six hits over 41/3 innings, getting up to 65 pitches. He struck out three and walked one, working on his changeup.
"Every outing, I feel like my arm and my body continues to get better," Price said. "I feel like I'm where I need to be right now. I feel strong."
SS Reid Brignac went 1-for-5 with a single and strikeout in the same game.
UPTON UPDATE: CF B.J. Upton said he's feeling better and still hopes to play Tuesday, though it'd likely be in a minor-league game as he's not on the travel squad for Jupiter. Upton, who hasn't played since Wednesday's collision with LF Desmond Jennings, took some swings Saturday and Sunday and still is dealing with stiffness in his lower back.
"It's tolerable," Upton said. "It's probably not up to game speed right now."
GAME DETAILS: 3B Evan Longoria picked up his first two hits of the spring, including a solo homer in the second inning of an 8-4 loss to the Red Sox. … RHP Kyle Farnsworth threw a scoreless inning.
MISCELLANY: DH Luke Scott made back-to-back starts for the first time, going 1-for-4 and feeling fine. … Maddon said "guys are starting to separate themselves" in the competition for starting shortstop and second catcher. … UTL Jeff Keppinger made his first spring appearance at shortstop and did well, other than dropping a liner in the third. … A squad of Rays minor-leaguers beat the Netherlands 7-5 at Al Lang.
Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]